Social media means different things to different people. What should it mean for your school?
With cutthroat competition amongst school today, students and their parents are spoilt for choice with the sheer number of options available. Only a few schools have the resources to erect large banners in the center of town but for the majority that don’t creativity in their marketing efforts is going to play a big role in leveling the playing field.
Social media today means building relationships, how can your schools utilize relationship building online to attract more students. These are just 5 reasons your school should have a social media presence.
Parent/student engagement and reaching new audiences
Without interest from parents and students within the catchment area, schools would cease to exist. Local community engagement is vital. Students often make decisions about what schools they would like to go to themselves, and social media can be the perfect way to reach. For example, if you send out a tweet that is then favorited by one of your followers, you will then automatically become visible to all of their followers. Social media engagement therefore increases your visibility (locally and nationally) and exposes you new audiences.
Ability to monitor and manage your school’s reputation
Many schools fear negative comments and reputation damage as a reason to avoid social media. But people will always talk about you online whether you’re there or not. So by being “in the room”, you can influence the outcome of those conversations positively. You can set up alerts on social media so you are notified when people talk about you online, giving you the opportunity to correct misinformation and “nip in the bud” any negative discussions.
The only way to manage your online reputation is to have an online presence. Having an online profile that parents, teachers and students can communicate with gives you the opportunity to improve relations and show that you can deal with issues quickly and proactively.
Generate publicity for your school
First of all, you should know that social media is a good way to generate interest in your school. With more and more people looking into things that they are interested in on social media, it’s a good way to bring in potential students and to get parents interested.
Sharing information with all of the educators, parents and students in a school can be tricky. It can also be hard to share information with the general public. With social media, it’s easy to share things like school closings, school registration dates, big sporting events and more with the entire community.
For an example of a school that does this really well, take a look at how Grace Schools Lagos use Twitter.
Be part of the conversation
Transfer your worries about what others are saying about your environment to efforts that make sure the right story is told. Having a voice in social media is key. It gives you some control. Not complete control of course, but now you can become part of the conversation to help spread the positive stories.
Recognize students & staff
Reward students and teachers for their accomplishments by singing your praises publicly. Social media makes this so simple. You can celebrate the simple things like, “Mr. A’s primary class always end a lesson with big smiles on their faces. Having great teachers like him helps make our school great!” And if there is a big award received, make sure to broadcast that. For students be sure to wish them a happy birthday on twitter and celebrate victories such as spelling bee or inter school competitions.
These are tools schools should be leveraging on, especially with the recent drive to adopt IT in the Nigerian education space. Internet penetration in Nigeria according to the World Bank capped at 38%, that’s 68 million people with access to internet. People that could be looking for schools.
Imagine how many people are searching for a school right now at this moment. Why can’t it be yours. With initiatives like Facebook free basics, even the little ones are jumping aboard the social media bandwagon.
Everyone else is doing it, what about you?